Return to Level1Techs.com

Does VPN keep you safe from hacking?

This is my first post here, I have been following the site but never posted here. I am posting here because the community is very engaging and empathetic. The issue is our wifi and cameras were hacked a little time ago. I was searching for the security suite or any technique which keeps on working whether we are at work, home or on vacations. The most economical solution seems to be the VPN one. Now, I am stuck and confuse between surfshark and purevpn. Have you guys used any one of them?
TIA

1 Like

Oups, ninja edit: Welcome to the forum and posting!

Can you go into more detail in regards to the hack? VPNs offer a very specific use-case of security. For example if youre wifi password was actually hacked and then the cameras via the threat being in your LAN via WiFi and your VPN was setup for WAN traffic it wouldn’t have helped with this.

If the cameras were hacked due to their cloud provider being compromised, a VPN would not have helped.

We need the post mortem of the hack.

3 Likes

2nd @Token response. Give us the full details. A VPN probably would not have helped you in this case as many of these security cameras that you can buy are not secure in the slightest. There is more that goes into hardening your home network than just using a VPN.

Form a perspective of devices on your network a VPN service where you pay for a subscription creates a tunnel for network traffic, it replaces your ISP with a different ISP - no, it does not protect you from hacking in the general case.

If you were exposing cameras to the internet in order to use them from away and that’s how you got hacked, you can use a different kind of VPN to help instead.

Specifically, a VPN service that you run, at home and that you expose (port forward) incoming traffic from the internet to a VPN service.

Then, when you/your phone/laptop are elsewhere, you can access the VPN service over the internet, and through it your network and cameras.

A VPN service you run is generally far more secure/resilient to random hacking from the internet than your typical security camera web interface.

I don’t know if there’s an easy turn key solution, I’d normally diy things like this myself I’ve been doing network and server programming for years, it might be fairly complex for you. Someone on the community might be more informed on tailscale or zerotier edge, these might be good easy solutions but I’m not sure.

I have questions…

Your WiFi was hacked which allowed access to the cameras? The cameras are hosted by a cloud provider adn they were hacked?

Good practice would be to have iot devices on a separate network (vlan etc…) A whole network VPN can be helpful, but if the WiFi router is a weak point ( many guest users etc ) It should be kept away from cameras and other IoT devices (again, VLAN, seperate router etc…) .

There’s more to all this, if you don’t know which was hacked or all were hacked, Follow good practice for these devices to sure up your network !

I agree with @Token

1 Like

Welcome to the forum. A VPN Service Provider (I call them VSPs) will not improve the security of your local (home) network. VPNs protect you when you are away from home, on an untrusted and / or public network (hotel, bar, restaurant wifi etc.), where malicious actors can lurk due to the openness of the network. A VPN will hide your traffic from them, preventing man-in-the-middle and spoofing attacks. But it won’t protect your device itself if it has a vulnerability (always install updates and don’t use EOL devices to connect to the internet).

And any VPN will protect you on untrusted networks, not just VSP provided ones. As for the cameras incident, I agree with what was said before me: if you can, have the cameras and DVR / NVR run on a separate network / VLAN and never allow access to them from internet. Use a home VPN to access them when you’re away from home.